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Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis: . how social dialogue influences changes in public sector employment relations in the UK. Stephen Bach Alexandra Stroleny King’s College London. Introduction. 2010: Conservative-led Coalition  focus: fiscal consolidation

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public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis

Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis:

how social dialogue influences changes in public sector employment relations in the UK

Stephen Bach

Alexandra Stroleny

King’s College London

introduction
Introduction
  • 2010: Conservative-led Coalition

 focus: fiscal consolidation

  • qualitative: familiar Conservative Party themes of outsourcing, local pay and deprivileging PS IR
  • quantitative: sharp reductions in public expenditure  PS employment cuts + incomes policy based on a two year wage freeze

limited scope for workforce engagement & dialogue with PS trade unions

austerity drivers
Austerity - Drivers
  • Deficit  speed & depth
  • 2010 Comprehensive Spending review:
  • Aim: deficit reduction: 2009: 8.4% of GDP 2015: 0.4 %

2. Ideology + underlying economic assumptions

  • No consultation with TUs + employers prior to announcement of wage freeze
  • three quarters of deficit reduction linked to public spending cuts
measures wages
Measures - Wages
  • 2- year pay freeze (2011-12 & 2012-2013 ) 2 years: pay awards - 1% cap
  • across all areas of PS, staff earning £21,000 or less: some protection
  • progression arrangements - annual pay increments average PS pay still growing in nominal (but not real) terms
  • Pension changes 30th Nov strike  some concessions  dispute settled in local gov, partly in civil service, remains unsettled in NHS
local government
Local Government
  • LGA (Local Government Association)
  • NJC (National Joint Council for Local Government Services)
  • Local auth. = greatest formal employer autonomy + discretion over how match pay scales to national negotiated pay spine  ‘single status’ national framework (‘Green Book’) -some local variation – Part 2 vs. 3
local government1
Local Government
  • 2010staffing reductions, changes in allowances for working anti-social hours, reduced mileage rates for car users, reduced sickness entitlement & annual leave
  • explicit trade-offs offered to workforce reg. contractually entitled incremental progressionstaff ballots – different outcomes
  • Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
challenges
Challenges
  • Employers  more assertive:
  • austerity => seeking changes
  • challenge of maintaining staff engagement & morale
  • HR capabilities to manage change effectively ?
  • TU weaker (membership + density => fall)

options:

  • concession bargaining
  • not engage with employers
  • Attempt to mobilise & risk marginalisation
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Quantitative: job cuts, wage freeze; shrink state
  • Qualitative: expansion of a variety of providers, erode national systems of collective bargaining
  • Social dialogue: Nationally – limited

Locally - variations

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